Zonta International History

Zonta International’s story does not end here. Today, Zonta International is a global organization of more than 29,000 members in nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 63 countries. As we prepare to celebrate our 100th anniversary in 2019, we look back on some of the most significant milestones in our rich history of empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.

History Timeline

1919 - Confederation of Zonta Clubs founded in Buffalo, New York, USA. Mary Jenkins is elected first president.

1920 - Zonta colors and emblem are adopted and the first issue of The Zontian is published.

1923 - The first international project is funded to care for 115,000 orphan children and women in Smyrna, Turkey.

1927 - The first club outside the US is formed in Toronto, Canada.

1930 - "Zonta International" name is adopted as the first European club is established in Vienna, Austria.

1938The Amelia Earhart Fellowship is established in honor of the Zontian after her disappearance in 1937.

1948 - The first Z and Golden Z clubs are founded in Burbank, California, USA.

1963 - Zonta International is granted roster-level status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council. 

1968 -  Zonta International elects Helvi Sipilä as the first International President outside of the US. Contributions reach 1 million USD.

1970 - Zonta International elects Angie Brooks-Rudolph as its first International Honorary Member.

1975 - Zonta International President Eleanor Jammal and UN Committee Chairman Harriette Yeckel serve as Zonta's official delegates to the UN International Women's Year Conference in Mexico City, Mexico and Helvi Sipilä serves as secretary-general.

1983 - Zonta is granted consultative status with the Council of Europe.

1984Zonta International Foundation is established.

1986 - Zonta International becomes the first NGO to support UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women) and continues to support. 

1987 - Zonta International dedicates their first world headquarters building in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

1988 - Zonta welcomes its 1,000th club, Lome, Togo. 

1990 - The Young Women in Public Affairs Award is established.

1998 - Zonta International Strategies to End Violence Against Women project (ZISVAW) is adopted as an on-going program. The Jane M. Klausman Women In Business Scholarship is established. 

2012Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women annual campaign launches.

2014 - "Empowering Women Through Service and Advocacy" slogan adopted.